A manufactured home gun safe is one of the biggest investments you could ever make—and it is just plain huge, and heavy.
It is recommended that you approach firearm safe shopping as if you are making a purchase of a lifetime, because you are.
Basically, you want a safe that will provide storage service for a very long time.
Once the gun safe gets in your home, it is there forever, and you may never want to move it around your home from room to room.
This guide offers a few important tips that can lead you through the shopping process and as well as show you how to choose the right product.
But, What Are The Qualities Of An Excellent Firearm Safe?
- Protects against both fire and theft
- Maintains internal temperature at about 350° F or lower in about 1,300° hot conditions for about 1 hour.
- 10-gauge stainless steel body and thick gauge door, should consist of plate steel.
- Fully box assembled with all-round and continuous welds.
- Electronic (keypad) lock or combination
- Easily concealable anywhere in your home.
- Can be attached to the fabrics of your home (i.e. wall or floor).
- Holds existing gun collection with more room for more firearms in the future.
- Has interior lining to keep the guns’ finish intact
- Comes with lights and a dehumidifier
Six Manufactured Home Gun Safe Shopping Factors
Bear in mind these factors when shopping for a gun safe:
- Important Features
- Cost v/s Budget
- Legal Requirements
- Design Preferences
1. Important Features
Look for these essential features:
Size & Weight
If you intend to use the safe for storing larger and longer guns, look for a product that features a vertical interior clearance.
The vertical clearance should not be less than 58” tall and should support greater weight, up to 750 lbs.
If you have long-guns and handguns be sure to choose a gun safe that features a few spacious shelves.
Normally, a loaded safe weighing more than 700 lbs. would be difficult to steal or knock over.
Experts suggest buying a gun safe larger in size than what you think you’ll need in the future when you buy more guns of any size.
Gun Safe Construction
Yes, safes are tough by default, but they all have a breaking point.
During a fire, for example, anything that collapses hard enough on top of your safe could end up splitting a weld or popping the door open.
However, not all products are vulnerable to fire. The best way to avoid this is to go for a safe that is built with continuous welds which are very sturdy and hard to weaken with fire.
Some designs of gun safes are modular, something that makes them easier to move around the house and into any room you please.
This type of safe normally does not come in a welded construction although some manufacturers do claim their products to have similar durability as that of a welded safe.
Sometime back, most gun safe units were glass and wood beautiful pieces of furniture designed to proudly display your gun collection.
Today, a big part of gun owners want a safe that can keep their guns completely out of sight and one that holds them safely and securely.
How is the exterior constructed?
Thicker steel is incredibly hard to cut with most household and garage cutting equipment. It is also more resistant to denting and break-ins.
When shopping for a gun safe, look for nothing more than 10-gauge stainless steel.
Steel units made from 12 – 14-gauge steel may not provide enough protection from a person trying to force their way into the safe especially if they are armed with an ax or concrete saw.
Generally, law enforcement agencies and prisons use 7 – 8-gauges stainless steel walls as storage space for their guns.
Moisture brings destruction everywhere it’s never meant to be.
Keeping out moist air and water will eliminate the risk of corrosion and rusting on your rifles.
Also, door seals play a vital role in protecting the guns during floods or fire outbreak.
Door seals should, therefore, extend around the whole door.
TIP: Most manufacturers suggest placing the gun safe in a spot that’s above ground level. All external holes should also be sealed.
Dual lock, rotary combination, electronic, fingerprint, and key choices are some of the popular locking mechanisms available when choosing a gun safe.
- Safes with electronic locks require a changeable battery that can be removed and replaced. The owner also needs to memorize the re-memorize the combination after reprogramming.
- Rotary combination locks come with one setback: the process of opening the chamber can be considerably slower.
- So, if speed is a major factor for you, it only makes sense you choose faster options like fingerprint and digital locks.
- The best thing about rotary combination locks is better durability, reliability, and removal of electrical power or batteries from the equation.
- Fingerprint locks are almost unhackable but always costlier than most other types.
- Key locks are the easiest to compromise and can easily pose a security threat if the keys get lost or end up in the wrong hands.
- Dual locks offer double the security, for both locks must be opened to access the guns.
Look for a gun safe that features 2 bolts on every side of the 4 sides of the door.
TIP: Most safe manufacturers recommend bolting the gun safe to your floor to eliminate movability although this measure comes with a few considerable drawbacks especially in the case of manufactured homes without permanent floors.
Household fires are quite common, you never imagine it, but it could occur.
Why take chances? Invest in a gun safe that is fire resistant (make sure it is rated as so).
A fire-resistant safe is designed to withstand the damages inflicted by fire and the water or carbon foams used in extinguishing processes.
Temperature, humidity, lighting, and humidity control accessories should accompany just about any type of safe that has enough room for such add-ons.
Lighting is really important. You don’t want to dig around your gun safe in the dark trying to find the right weapon to counter an abrupt home invasion.
Rust can build up rapidly, so, regulating the humidity and temperature is essential.
Warming units can be used to reduce the amount of water vapor in your safe and will go a long way to deter the accumulation of rust on the guns.
Dehumidifiers specifically made for gun safes can be purchased in your local gun accessory shops.
As you move from store to store or peruse through one store’s collection, you will find gun safes that fall into 7 broad categories. Choose a unit from a category that suits your needs.
Large Gun Safe
This type of safe is designed for holding large guns and not just one but several of them, often over 22 guns together with other valuables.
In-wall Gun Safe
This type of gun safe is discreetly and permanently installed in the wall of your house. They can be easily outfitted with an electronic, fingerprint, or turn type of lock.
Under The Bed/Chair Gun Safe
During an emergency, it is much easier to fish out a gun from beneath your chair or bed than having to rush to the wall.
Under the Bed/Chair Gun Safe is designed to work like a small drawer and fit flawlessly underneath your bed or sofa set.
Some people prefer having their guns nearby at all times, whether they are asleep or chilling in the family room, and this is the best sort of gun safe for them.
Also, this type of safe is more safe compared to, say, hiding your gun under the chair or mattress.
Hidden Gun Safe
As the name suggests, this type of safe is concealed to look something different.
Some may be designed to look like attractive pieces of furniture to a stranger but only your family and you know what’s kept inside them.
Small Size Gun Safe
This type of safe is the direct opposite of the large gun safe – it is perfect for keeping a small gun, say, a handgun or pistol.
They are the easiest to transport and store.
Biometric Lock/Fingerprint Safe
Fireproof Gun Safe: They can withstand great fires and are available in multiple sizes. They often feature electronic keypads or traditional locks.
3. Cost v/s Budget
The cost of the gun safe depends on an array of factors. Most of the products you will find in the store fall between $200 and $10,000.
But, what causes this huge difference in price tags? The price is based on four things:
- Its size
- Level of security provided
- Built-in features
- Degree of fire resistance
Let’s take a glance at each:
We’re just going to keep it 100% and come out right and say it: Size does matter when it comes to buying a gun safe.
Larger units are almost always expensive.
Yet, the larger safe the better because you need to factor in your future storage needs.
Level of Security
The more secure the safe is, the more you will pay for it.
For example, the weight and thickness of the stainless steel used in the walls of the safe, locking bars, and locking mechanisms are all influential to the security rating of the safe.
When you select a highly rated safe you will pay more money for it, but you will benefit immensely from the added security.
All the must-have features mentioned at the start of the guide and others, like the kind of fabric used in the interior, lighting, and the sort of paint finish used on the exterior, will affect the price.
Degree of Fire Protection
The more fire-resistant the safe is, the more you will pay for it.
Some safes only guarantee 15 – 30 minutes of protection, while others offer much longer time can protect your guns from high temperatures for about 2 1/2 hrs even longer.
The pricing of gun safes varies quite considerably depending on the kind and number of features that are more important to your needs.
You can definitely go for those really expensive options, concrete-wall, $10,000 safes, or even costlier if that is what you are interested in.
Companies like Liberty Safe offer affordable products that combine higher security, impressive fire protection, and other premium features.
It is important that you prepare a budget and make up your mind about the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on a gun safe.
While it is perfectly normal for every shopper to prepare a budget based on their finances and needs, it is important that they avoid compromising with the minimum burglary and fire protection requirements.
A budget helps you avoid overspending, impulse buying, at times, going for a wrong product that doesn’t even meet your requirements leave alone your financial abilities.
It is not entirely wrong to go for a cheaper model as long as you understand the features you need on the product.
4. Weight Legal Requirements Design Preferences
Choosing the weight of a gun safe can be a little complicated because of so many factors at stake.
If the floor of your manufactured home is old and may not be in a good position to sustain great weights in one place for a long time, it would only make sense you choose a lightweight product.
But, you want a product that can provide maximum security for your arms, meaning it needs to have thicker walls and a heavier frame – you are going to be divided between the two factors.
Most of the products you will find in the store fall in these weight categories:
- 5 Pounds & Under
- 6 to 10 Pounds
- 11 to 15 Pounds
- 16 to 20 Pounds
- 21 to 25 Pounds
- 26 to 50 Pounds
- 51 to 100 Pounds
- Over 100 Pounds
Entry-level gun safes normally weigh between 200 and 600 lbs.
Mid-range safes can weigh between 600 – 1000 lbs.
High-end products weigh in between 1000 – 1600 lbs.
And commercial-grade gun safes can weigh somewhere between 2000 and 5000 lbs.
5. Legal Requirements Design Preferences
Some state rifle protection laws define precise or sometimes general standards that all gun safes must meet.
Usually, dealers and manufacturers add information on their products whether the respective unit meets the state regulations and standards regarding packing.
In California, for example, where the standards tend to be very specific.
The best way to make things a bit easier is to use online tools for checking if the specific model number is compliant with your state’s standards.
6. Design Preferences
Outline all your design preferences. A lot of buyers believe that the journey would be complete if you finally land a safe which is large enough and provides effective protection against fire and from theft.
However, a small yet important factor they tend to forget is the safe’s internal design.
There are a lot of configurations to select from and different types of racks and stands to add.
To choose the best product, put into consideration the types of guns that you plan to store in the unit, their ammunitions, accessories, and number as well as other items that need to accompany your firearms.
If you own many types of guns, get the correct rack for them. At the moment, some of the most functional and trendiest options include door mounted racks and free-standing rotating ones.
If you own mostly smaller guns, you’ll probably want to go for a safe with plenty of drawers, as they provide more storage space as well as additional protection.
Most of the products you will find in the store feature one of the three popular shelf configurations.
The buyer can choose between top shelves layout, side shelves layout, or a combo of both the top and side shelves.
While the interior layout may be configurable in the future, it is safer and more cost-efficient to choose the most practical option at the very start.
A firearm safe is one of those items you’d invest in once and forget about buying another unit again for the rest of your life unless a replacement becomes very necessary.
There are a few must-have features every gun safe must-have.
Also, consider the type of product you want, the amount of money you are willing to invest in one, and how your budget looks like.
The weight of the safe, your local legal requirements, and your design preferences must be considered as well.